Friday, January 25, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 79


Masculinity confuses columnist

Randy Woock

I was jogging in Meyer Park last weekend when I came across a sandlot game of soccer in progress. The players were all guys around their 20s, all sweating profusely and all playing roughly.

As I watched their aggressive tendencies get worked out through slide tackles and frequent fistfights, I found myself wondering about
that chimerical and elusive state known as masculinity.

I never really understood the concept of masculinity. Maybe my ignorance comes from being the only male in the household while growing
up. Maybe it's due to living in a gelded society where aggression is punishable by law unless it's performed by athletes or against other
countries (a.k.a. "war"). 

I guess I've just always had trouble grasping the concept. Should males go around thumping our chests and tearing up grass? Are we
obliged to bully those physically weaker than ourselves? Is it a requirement that we're always on top during love-play?

Does masculinity involve a set of rules that men have to follow or risk losing our male membership cards? Do we have to give up all the
perks and privileges associated with being male if we don't follow these vague guidelines? 

If a guy's interest in cars doesn't extend past the gas mileage and if he doesn't give a crap about the speaker size, is he less masculine?
And what if the only effect action movies have on a guy is to make him wonder how many starving Somalians could have been fed using
half the budget of such soporific diversions? Is that hypothetical male so unmasculine as to defy description? Should he have his penis

I'll confess to being utterly in the dark on this topic. Sure, I did the typically Texan guy-things while growing up: ran around on a field in
football pads trying to hurt other teenagers while grown men with beer guts screamed at us all. Was that masculine? I've never been in
the middle of so many huge, writhing piles of sweaty boys as when I played football in high school. Was that the quintessence of

Or does masculinity involve things other than violence and toughness? Is drinking large quantities of beer masculine? I wouldn't think so,
considering I've met plenty of women who could down 'em like champs, their testicular deficiencies notwithstanding.

Then does it have anything to do with the ability to bed large numbers of the opposite sex? That sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Or it
would, if it wasn't for the old Freudian theory that equated male-to-female promiscuity with a desire to sublimate one's latent homoerotic
urges. 'Course, I think we've all learned by now not to trust anything said by a cokehead. (However, guys, Freud's weakness for Colombian
snow in no way lets you off the hook for the "wanting to shag your mom" thing, subconscious or not.)

So, if masculinity isn't equated with physical toughness, alcohol tolerance or sexual promiscuity, then what the hell is it? Beats me, and I'm
beginning to think it ought to be consigned to the trash heap along with similarly vague and worthless terms like honor, responsibility,
salvation and respect.

'Course, you may think I'm wrong, but I'm the one with a column. Who's going to read your opinion?

Ah, trash talking. Now that's masculine!

Woock, a senior psychology 
major, can be reached at


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